It’s unreal: Serena Williams knocked out of Olympics by Elina Svitolina
World number one and defending champion serves five double faults in one game in straight-sets defeat
Out of sorts and out of answers, defending champion Serena Williams is out of the Rio Olympics.
Shanking shots of all sorts, including five – yes, five! – double-faults in one game alone, Williams lost to Elina Svitolina of Ukraine 6-4, 6-3 in the third round in a real shocker, ending the number-one seeds bid to become the first tennis player to collect a pair of singles golds.
Against an unheralded opponent who at times couldn’t seem to miss, Williams had problems right from the start, when she got broken to fall behind 2-1 with a badly missed overhead into the net.
That set a pattern.
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“Obviously I am very disappointed. The better player won but I can’t wait for next time. That will be a really good match and I look forward to it,” said Williams.
“It was a great opportunity. It didn’t work out the way I wanted it to, but at least I was able to make it to Rio. That was one of my goals.
“It was awesome and fun, but it’s over now.”
By match’s end, Svitolina had won 63 points, but merely nine came via clean winners of her own doing. The others came thanks to Williams’ 37 unforced errors and 17 forced errors.
“It’s an unreal feeling for me. This is just a perfect moment,” said Svitolina, who will face Czech Republic’s Petra Kvitova in the quarter-finals.
“I didn’t really think about my record against Serena,” said Svitolina.
“I didn’t expect that I could win and I said don’t think she will make a mistake. Just fight and focus.
“I stayed in the moment, relaxed and went for my shots especially in second set because it was really tight.”
Svitolina said she was not surprised by Williams’ uncharacteristic serving up of five double faults.
“She can also hit four aces in a row, so I expected the unexpected.
“I tried not to think about playing Serena, the Olympic champion and so many grand slams.
“I also thought she may be injured but I tried not to think about it too much.”
Williams’ defeat followed a first round loss for men’s world number one Novak Djokovic.
After winning golds in singles and doubles at the 2012 London Olympics, Williams heads home from Brazil with nothing
She and her older sister Venus, who sat in the stands on Tuesday, lost in the first round of doubles – their first defeat in the Olympics after going 15-0 with three golds.
The 20th-ranked Svitolina, meanwhile, never before played in the Olympics and only once has been to a major quarter-final. She also entered the night 0-4 against Williams, an owner of 22 grand slam singles championships.
Their most recent match came at the French Open on June 1, and it ended with Williams winning 6-1, 6-1.
Additional reporting Agence France-Presse